Verizon Loses 15,000 Pay TV Subs, Reiterates It Needs No Acquisitions

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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam

The telecom giant, led by CEO Lowell McAdam, recently acquired the web giant that together with AOL has formed new unit Oath, with Verizon confirming a cost savings target of $1 billion-plus through 2020.

Telecom giant Verizon on Thursday reported that its FiOS video service lost 15,000 net pay TV subscribers in the second quarter, compared with a 41,000 loss in the year-ago period and a 13,000 subscriber drop in the first quarter. It was the third quarterly FiOS pay TV subscriber loss posted by the company since its launch in 2006. 

On an earnings call, the company's CFO also reiterated that Verizon felt no need to make acquisitions, unless they help its strategy and come at an attractive price. 

Verizon ended the second quarter with a total of 4.7 million subscribers to its FiOS video service, which competes with cable and satellite TV companies.

Verizon recently closed its acquisition of Yahoo to form, together with AOL, its new Oath unit. "Oath expects to realize more than $1 billion in cumulative operating expense synergies through 2020," the said on Thursday, and Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said "the integration is going well."

Verizon, after previously acquiring AOL and Millennial Media and last year launching millennials-focused mobile video service Go90, has said millennials remain a core focus for the company. It also previously acquired a stake in AwesomenessTV and partnered with Hearst to jointly acquire male-focused media company Complex.

Verizon also reported Thursday that it added 49,000 net new FiOS broadband connections in the second quarter to end it with 5.7 million.

Verizon reported second-quarter earnings of 96 cents per share, in line with Wall Street estimates, on revenue of $30.5 billion, slightly above expectations. 

Ellis on Thursday reiterated that Verizon felt no pressure to make any major acquisitions. "We're very comfortable with the assets we have today," he said. "If there is an opportunity to add something that accelerates the strategy at a reasonable price, we will. But we think we have the assets we think we need to be effective at this point in time."

Last quarter, he had used the company's earnings conference call to clarify comments from chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam, who had told Bloomberg News that he was open to deal talks with the likes of Comcast, Walt Disney and CBS Corp.

Ellis back then said McAdam's response came to a question about whether he would take calls and meetings from those companies and was simply meant to emphasize that Verizon is always open to talking to anyone. Ellis added that Verizon was "confident" about the businesses it currently owns and its strategy. “We’re looking at how we execute our strategy," he said. "We’re confident in executing our strategy organically, but if there is the right opportunity out there to accelerate the strategy inorganically in a way that adds shareholder value, we are always looking at those opportunities."